Improvised Life » creative process http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Beauty of Unfinished…and Asking for Help http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/12/beauty-unfinished-asking-help/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/12/beauty-unfinished-asking-help/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:44:04 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46691

Amanda Palmer/Maria Popova

This image of musician Amanda Palmer in Brain Pickings reminded us how beautiful walls intentionally painted in a rough “unfinished” line can be.

But the real gift was this little video of Amanda Palmer talking about why it is so difficult—and can be so healing — to ask for help, which is the subject of her new book, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. Check this out: (more…)

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Never Give Up! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/never-give/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/never-give/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:39:03 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45201

Bibi Jordan'

I saw this old dhow (wooden boat) in the harbor at Lamu in 1988 and took a quick shot of the transom.

It was a lousy photo and I always regretted not getting a better shot.

Then I found this one of the very same boat in Bibi Jordan’s book, Swahili Chic: The Feng Shui of Africa. This is a scan of her photo.

Words to live by.

Susan Dworski

 

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‘My Only Religion is Love of the Work to Be Created': Matisse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:29:22 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46307 In this beautiful video, Morgan Meis visits Chapelle du Rosier de Vence, the chapel Matisse called his “masterpiece”. The short film is a wonderful interplay of the chapel itself and clips of Matisse working. Meis' commentary illuminates what it's like to experience the spare space, as well as Matisse's process and motivations:]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/feed/ 2 Scared? Great. Do It! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:53:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46160

Reading Holton Rower’s “Run Toward Your Fear” sign recently, I recalled a remark that Tom Robbins made to me years ago when I was fretting about whether to sign up to design a big, new project with a tight deadline that required a great many skills I did not have—skills I would have to learn on the job. A very scary prospect.

What if I dropped the ball and left the client hanging, (more…)

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Creativity: “A Constant, Continual Process” that Defies Age http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/27/aging-creating-constant-continual-process/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/27/aging-creating-constant-continual-process/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:04:43 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46229

Erik Madigan Heck

Yesterday’s Sunday Times Health Magazine was thin…but PACKED with stunning insight and images. Themed “The Fountain of Youth”, it asked and partially answered the questions: What does it mean to age? and What are the secrets to doing it well?

The photo-essay Old Masters features luminaries 80 + years old who continue to be passionate about their work.  “They reign. ” Each one embraces the continual process of learning and growing, while ignoring usual notions of what aging looks like. (more…)

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Seth Godin: Make Two Lists, then Choose http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:12:29 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46079

We were struck by Seth Godin’s recent post about the two lists we seem to carry with us at all times, which become apparent during a crisis or moment of doubt: one is the positives, the other, the negatives we perceive in our lives. His point: we have a choice in which we choose and the choice we make determines how we will proceed: (more…)

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Forssman, the Heart Pioneer who Used Himself as a Guinea Pig http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/20/forssman-crazy-pioneer-used-guinee-pig/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/20/forssman-crazy-pioneer-used-guinee-pig/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:33:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45742

Reading the illustrated walls of the hospital waiting room a couple of weeks ago, we learned this compelling little fact about Werner Forssmann, one of the pioneers of heart catheterization. He had the idea that you could thread a healing device through an artery and into the heart.

Then he tried it on himself.

At Improvised Life, we are big believers in the “try things out” school of discovery and creating.  (more…)

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James Baldwin on Making a Leap http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:00:05 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45143

Richard Avedon/The Avedon Foundation

From our friend Marella Consolini:

I recently read an interview with James Baldwin in a 1984 Paris Review. To me, fascinating under any circumstance, but of course thought of you because of his mention of a deep and personal leap. Details:

Was there an instant you knew you were going to write, to be a writer rather than anything else?

BALDWIN: Yes. The death of my father. Until my father died I thought I could do something else. I had wanted to be a musician, thought of being a painter, thought of being an actor. This was all before I was nineteen. Given (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/feed/ 4 Air Baths and Other Ways to Enhance Creativity http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:15:17 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45477

At Improvised life,  we’re always interested in ways to become more creative and productive. So when we came across Mason Currey’s latest book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work we were excited. Currey describes personal quirks and daily rituals developed by many of the world’s great artists, musicians and film makers.

From the bizarre right through to the strikingly simple – the book reminds us that we all work in individual and often improvised ways: (more…)

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Why Walking Helps Us Think + Create http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:32:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45240

Richard Tuvey

In this week's New Yorker, Ferris Jabr describes research that shows why walking goes beyond being a great physical exercise, but a catalyst for creative thinking as well. We go for a walk daily in the park we look out on. Every time, we discover something new AND find our mind shifting, ideas sparking, problems beginning to yield. Nature reminds us of possibilities...]]>
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Reorganization as Soul Cleanse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 08:54:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45132

A 48-hour disappearance into the depths of my studio was finally interrupted late yesterday by a well-meaning friend. He peered in to find me on hands and knees wiping out the lowest shelves with damp paper towels.

“Jeez. Still at it?”

I swiveled and growled like a rabid dog, sweat pouring down, hair plastered, eyes raccooned by melted mascara. “I can’t stop now. This is important. This is soulwork” He faded without a word.

Panting, disheveled, covered in cobwebs, I sat back on my heels. WTF? Why did this reorganization seem like a matter of life and death? Taking a swig of ice water, I collapsed on the floor. Presently, it came to me why it was––and is––such a big deal. (more…)

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Maira Kalman on Daydreaming, Eccentricity, and Not Knowing What is Going On http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:10:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44690

(Vido link HERE.) Portraits in Creativity is a series of short-form videos by renown creative director Gael Towey about the bravery and processes of artists and artisans. Who could better start off the series than the great, wise, observant Maira Kalman?  Kalman’s drawing and writing gets to the essence of not knowing what is going on” and celebrates it. Which is why we love her.

The video is like a walk around New York City with the Kalman. It is rich with illuminating observations (more…)

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Exploration: Maria Robledo’s Frame Series http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:30:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43957

Maria Robledo

In May, we gave photographer Maria Robledo an antique silver picture frame that had no glass or mat; you could see right through it. Hand-wrought, it had a built-in stand of two crossing silver poles. To our surprise, Maria started using it as-is to frame cut flowers from her garden. Over the past weeks, she’s sent us a number of photographs of what has become quite organically her “Frame Series”. Gradually, the images have evolved to get increasingly daring, culminating in this remarkable one of a plastic bag. (more…)

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Holton Rower’s Money Art (Art Takes Money) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/16/money-energy-creativity-imagination/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/16/money-energy-creativity-imagination/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:00:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44144

Holton Rower

One of the many unexpected materials artist Holton Rower uses to make his art is money —physical paper money— rolled, folded and fashioned into all manner of unexpected scuptures. His concrete block filled with tightly-rolled bills resonates strongly with us, LOVING concrete block as we do for both their look and inherent possibilities, (more…)

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